Del Worsham has faced easier tasks in his nearly 27-years of drag racing. Starting in December with a sponsorship search, with no leads in hand, was nothing short of an impossible mission.
Let the record reflect the 46-year old two-time NHRA champion has a knack for pulling off the impossible from time to time.
Worsham announced Friday his family-operated nitro team will race in six races this season with major sponsorship from Lucas Oil.
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Worsham will compete in the NHRA Winternationals (Pomona, Ca.), NHRA Arizona Nationals (Phoenix, Az.), NHRA Gatornationals (Gainesville, Fla.), Denso Spark Plus NHRA Nationals (Las Vegas), Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Brainerd, Minn.) and NHRA U.S. Nationals (Indianapolis) with Lucas Oil as primary sponsor on his Toyota Camry Funny Car.
“I knew getting started this late in the season that most people’s budgets as far as advertising for big corporations were probably pretty well locked up,” Worsham admitted. “Somebody who has a passion for drag racing like the Lucas Oil family does, and they know drag racing, they love NHRA drag racing, and for them to step up is amazing.
“I knew it was going to be tough. It was a dream. I’m pretty sure I was looking for history to repeat itself, and it’s started to already. I’m really excited about it.”
There was no magic elixir for Lucas Oil coming along to heal Worsham’s ills, just a cold call to longtime drag racing acquaintance Morgan Lucas.
“We’re very lucky and very fortunate,” Worsham said. “After a conversation with Morgan Lucas, I told him my plans, and what my structure was and what I wanted to do moving forward with my dad and Worsham-Fink Racing. He was very excited about our program. It didn’t take long for him after that for him to come back and accept our agreement.”
Lucas, who parked his Top Fuel team in November, believed from the moment he hung up the phone sealing a deal with Worsham, this was a win-win situation.
“Lucas Oil is a family run business, and we have always tried to create products that help the working man; the people out there really getting the job done on a daily basis,” Lucas said. “Del Worsham epitomizes the hard-working, blue-collar spirit that Lucas Oil represents. He pours his heart and soul into his family and into drag racing. He’s the ultimate racer’s racer.
“Some of Del’s plans for his 2017 campaign are going to bring a lot of fun and excitement to NHRA drag racing, and as a fan of drag racing I’m really looking forward to Del hitting the track in his Lucas Oil Funny Car.”
Lucas joining the vastly growing operation has helped elevate the Worsham-Fink team into a competitive second-tier effort.
“The six races with Lucas Oil are just a start of what has snowballed into a group of companies that have stepped up; individuals with companies and individuals in general that want to help out,” Worsham added. “The six-race race agreement with Lucas Oil was just kind of the platform to get started.”
Snowballed is a very appropriate word for Worsham’s success over the last 45 days, from the time he resigned as the driver of the championship-winning Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car to joining his father Chuck Worsham to race together again.
The Worshams have forged solid alliances with include Toyota and their TMS and TRD programs, Hi-Tech Finishing, CP-Carillo, C2C Industries, Boninfante Friction, Mac Tools, AAP, Mahle-Clevite, ARP Fasteners, BMRS, Bullet Cams and Woody’s Custom Headers.
Kalitta Motorsports has already pledged assistance and support to the team.
Worsham has been lauded by many as a wonder kid of sorts when he entered the nitro ranks with his only racing experience straddling a BMX bicycle. A true novice, Worsham had never driven any kind of vehicle beyond 100-miles per hour when he jumped in his father’s fuel Funny Car and earned his license on the first shot. A year later he captured his first NHRA Drag Racing event win, beating Mark Oswald at the 1991 NHRA Southern Nationals outside of Atlanta, Ga.
Today Worsham’s resume boasts 39 career victories in 66 final rounds, with series championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.
“I am ecstatic right now,” Worsham said. “I was in the shop last night working with my dad, which is what I came back to do, and I was welding on fire bottle brackets, and I had flashbacks to when I was 18 years old, in his small garage doing it. I wanted to get the old band back together.”
Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus